Breakfast with a sublime difference? Noodlies, Sydney food blog contributor, Evie Chataway checks out Sokyo’s new breakfast menu.
Sokyo at The Star is now open seven days a week for breakfast and is offering an innovative Japanese inspired menu seeking to provide something for everyone. But does it deliver?
Already established as one of Sydney’s leading Japanese restaurants, the bar is already set high. Breakfast will have to be something pretty special to match Sokyo’s already outstanding kitchen achievements.
I wondered how the opulent ambience and décor of Sokyo would work in the bright sunshine of a Sydney morning. By night this restaurant exudes a sultry and seductive atmosphere with low lighting, dark wood and lacquered surfaces, I was concerned just how this would convert to a perky early rise setting. But the concerns were unfounded, it felt cool and fresh, a perfect oasis of relaxation to start the day.
Of course while the stylish décor is great for setting the scene, the star of the show should always remains the food. One thing you won’t find at Sokyo is a buffet of bain-maries filled full of scrambled eggs and bacon. It’s just not the Sokyo style. That’s not to say those traditional breakfast ingredients can’t be found, but rather Sokyo believe they don’t belong on the buffet, but should be cooked fresh, to order, to provide the best taste experience.
The a la carte breakfast menu at Sokyo is clever.
Eggs benedict might on first glace seem familiar enough but this has a special twist. The traditional elements are all there; lightly toasted brioche, streaky bacon – which is brushed with just a tiny amount of maple syrup to give an extra sweetness to the smokey flavour – and the perfectly cooked soft poached eggs. Then comes the twist to finish it off, a subtle miso flavoured hollandaise and a garnish of edamame beans. The edamame beans cut through the rich flavours as does the miso to give it a clean finish.
The omelette of the day was spanner crab with spicy sauce, a decadent start to the day which I doubt is on many other breakfast menus in Sydney. Those with a sweet tooth will rejoice in the pancakes with banana puree and Nutella and walnut crumb.
But the stars of the show have to be the more Japanese led dishes. If you are going to Sokyo, as tempting as that maple syrup brushed bacon is, I urge you to plump for one of these dishes instead.
The traditional “choushoku” breakfast consists of the grilled fish of the day (salmon on this occasion), miso soup, steamed sushi rice, nori, a slow cooked egg, and Japanese pickles and edamame beans.
If you are going to Sokyo, as tempting as that maple syrup brushed bacon is, I urge you to plump for one of these dishes instead.
I was thankful to Alex, the breakfast manager for his tips on how to eat this masterpiece. He advised to eat it like a taco by grabbing the seaweed, adding a little rice to it, then some fish, and then to dunking it into the rich slow cooked egg. The egg – which had been cooked for one and half hours at 63 degrees and popped out of its shell – was so beautiful it felt like a crime to break it, but once I’d tasted the rich golden yolk with the fresh salmon I had no regrets. The selection of pickles was a perfect tangy foil, while the miso and edamame beans helped to keep the dish varied. It is an outstanding dish whatever time of day you wanted to eat it.
The biggest surprise might have been the curry udon. This Japanese beef curry soup with pork neck, potato and thick noodles wasn’t something I thought I would manage to eat at that time of day. But, ultimately it tasted so good I certainly could. The noodles had a great texture, they were soft but still held their shape, and avoided being stodgy. The pork neck had been cut into very thin slices so that it again brought a lightness to the dish, and was much more manageable to eat at that time of day than sausage or bacon could ever be.
If you’re looking to intake some extra vitamins then plump for one of Sokyo’s smoothies at $4 for 200ml or $8 for 400ml. The very appropriately named The Purple tasted like pancakes in a glass, it felt initially like it couldn’t be good for you if it tasted that naughty, but comprised of blueberries, acai berry, agave and milk, so there’s nothing in there to feel guilty about.
The egg – which had been cooked for one and half hours at 63 degrees and popped out of its shell – was so beautiful it felt like a crime to break it
On those hot Sydney mornings make sure you sample one of Sokyo’s outstanding ice teas made fresh and left to seep for one day prior to serving. White peach comprised of lemon juice, blood peach and white tea, was incredibly refreshing and cleansing on the palette. For something gutsier, the Rooibos blood orange was a tad sweeter with more tang.
The Sokyo continental buffet follows the pattern of the a la carte menu and offers a mix of interesting items. Yes there are the recognisable continental buffet favourites of cold meats and cheeses, croissants and pain au chocolate, but look again and you’ll realise that many of the familiar breakfast favourites come with a twist. Along with the chocolate muffins you’ll also find muffin flavours like black sesame, or green tea and berry Danish pastry with a white chocolate and yuzu flavoured crème patisserie.
There is cereal available, but also the very Japanese congee with toppings which include Chinese donuts and spiced plum. The set-up of the buffet is very inviting and I particularly welcome the way they avoid ‘piling it high’. Instead, the buffet is smaller and regularly topped up with items, again focusing on keeping things fresh and also more attractive.
Along with the chocolate muffins you’ll also find muffin flavours like back sesame, or green tea, and berry Danish pastry had a white chocolate and yuzu flavoured crème patisserie.
The service was excellent. At one point I heard the people at the next table ask if they could just have plain eggs and bacon, which wasn’t a problem, the waiter happily arranged it for them with no song and dance, and it was automatic to please the patron.
People on another table arrived with a very well behaved baby and were happily set up by staff with a high chair. Staff were attentive, friendly but never overbearing, a perfect balance.
What Sokyo has cracked is offering the best of both worlds when it comes to breakfast. It offers unusual dishes without being scary for the more cautious diner. For the adventurous, you can go the whole hog and tuck into congee, udon curry, or choushoku breakfast.
For those looking for fusion, there are yuzu curd muffins from the buffet, and the miso infused hollandaise of the eggs benedict. But if you’re just wanting a straight breakfast dish, well they’ll do that for you, bacon and eggs and bacon can be arranged, or plump for the banana pancakes, followed by a bowl of cereal or a croissant.
What Sokyo has cracked is offering the best of both worlds when it comes to breakfast. It offers unusual dishes without being scary for the more cautious diner
Sokyo has managed to create a new breakfast experience that’s every bit as good as any of its lunch or dinners and they delivered it in a way which didn’t exclude anyone. Whether you’re a traditionalist or someone seeking new taste experiences, you can find both on the menu here, and done to the highest level.
My tip is to make sure to book if you’re planning on breakfast on the weekends. This place is proving very popular, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Darling The Star
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Ph: (02) 9657 9161
Breakfast at is served seven days a week 7am to 10.30am
– Full continental buffet, an a la carte dish and a tea or a coffee $38
– Full continental buffet and a tea or a coffee $28
– An a la carte dish, a tea or a coffee and a juice from the buffet $22.50
This noodlies, Sydney food blog experience was courtesy of Sokyo at the Star.